Based on a novella by Kressman Taylor which sensationally exposed the Nazi threat back in 1938, this gets somewhat tangled in a Jacobean revenge plot about two old friends in San Francisco whose children plan to marry. One (Lukas) returns to Germany with the other's daughter, and, falling under the spell of Nazism, fails to intervene when she is persecuted as a Jew. Lukas' portrayal of a man haunted by guilt, and cracking when a series of anonymous letters bring him under suspicion himself, almost edges the film into noir territory. It's often heavy-handed, but fascinating for the way Menzies (abetted by Rudolph Maté's lighting and expressionist touches) designs the film as though he had Things to Come in mind. Hollywood almost invariably dwarfed its soulless Nazis within vast chambers dominated by monstrous portraits of Der Führer, but the syndrome never ran riot quite so headily as here.
Cast and crew
|Director:||William Cameron Menzies|
Peter Van Eyck